Human Exceptionalism

Cuts Are Natural Part of Single Payer Healthcare

The New York Times editorialists sure are dense.  Today, they decry the inability of Medicaid recipients to sue governments to prevent cuts in compensation to doctors and hospitals, and hope the Supreme Court will order that such suits be permitted.  From “A Scalpal, Not An Ax for Medicaid:”

A lawsuit, which the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear in the coming term, will determine whether there is any recourse for Medicaid beneficiaries who may have less access to health care because of such cuts. Beneficiaries need the right to sue — and to negotiate legal settlements — so that they can force states to consider whether reducing provider payments will limit access to care.

Good luck with that.  Such a right would make it impossible for the government to control its own costs.   Indeed, it would accelerate the failure of an already collapsing system.  It isn’t going to happen.

And it’s ironic: This is the same editorial page that has argued for explicit rationing of health care.  Can’t have it both ways, fellas.  If the government rations and patients can sue–bye-bye refused treatment protocols. And I’d help with the lawsuits!

That point aside, what the NYT and so many other advocates in the health care controversy miss is that Medicaid and Medicare are closed financial systems.  Once the money is gone, it is gone.  Thus, unfair cuts without redress are in the very nature of these single payer health plans.  There is no escape from it without exploding the budget beyond paying.

Better to have vouchers for people and health insurance companies competing for the business.  That will help keep costs down through market forces, and private companies won’t be able to get out of contracts because they overspent their budgets.

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